Friday, 14 November 2008 1:23 PM

HIV is Everyones Business: Dr. Auto

Recent results have shown that the number of people living with HIV in the Solomon Islands stands at twelve.

In a recent interview with Solomon Times, Dr. James Auto from the National Referral Hospital said that HIV will have a drastic impact on the economy of the country and on "our already limited health services."

Dr. Auto states that now is the time for action before there is an outbreak of the disease.

He said that young people are the most vulnerable and are at a higher risk of contracting the disease, further stating there is a need for a lot of awareness, "to enable them to make proper judgment and to protect themselves from the disease."

He said that HIV should not be treated lightly, adding that "once it affects more and more families it may result in a breakdown of social order."

He also revealed that stigmatization or discrimination against people living with HIV is a major challenge to overcome.

"People living with HIV have the right to be treated fairly in different sectors of the society, to enable to access treatment. People living with HIV need their disease controlled and requires employment, be it in the formal or informal sector, in order to cater for their children. Their children also have the right to a good education, health services, play and spiritual teaching without discrimination.

"There should neither be discrimination against social groupings, particularly the gay people, which would otherwise challenge the majority view. Everyone should bear in mind that 'HIV/AIDS is everybody's business.

"It is true that health workers are at the vanguard in dealing with the disease but it would be wrong for the nation to leave the task to the Ministry of Health and key stakeholders to deal with. This is a wrong conception," says Dr. Auto.

Dr. James Auto then called on the cooperation from the public to tackle the disease.

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